Agile business has moved beyond referring to a particular development framework. As David Roe of CMSWire said, you might think of agile business practices as ways of removing impediments to getting work done and of course, satisfying customers. Such a complex task as managing information in an organization appears particularly well suited to such agility. Take a moment to understand modern business agility and the benefits of tools you can use to apply an agile philosophy to your document management.
Defining an Agile Approach to Business
How do you know if your organization has adopted an agile business model? To answer this question, think about the philosophy and characteristics that define business agility.
For instance, McKinsey says that the agile approach originated from a changing view of organizations. A few decades ago, people compared business processes to cogs in a machine. Today, that same organization, its hierarchy, and its processes are thought of more like a living organism. In that sense, the business has to allow for organic growth and change.
McKinsey illustrated the need for agility by laying out four characteristics of modern business environments:
- Demands from various stakeholders can change fast.
- Information gets both digitized and democratized at an accelerating rate.
- Many established businesses have either been replaced or changed to commodities.
- Companies require established value propositions to retain customers and talent.
In this rapidly changing and demanding business environment, companies can continue to thrive by using agile practices to enjoy speed, productivity, and flexibility. Thus, you might rate your company’s agility in terms of these three characteristics:
- An organization has the will and the tools to respond quickly to changes.
- Individuals, teams, departments, and entire companies communicate well with employees, customers, partners, and investors.
- Management empowers individuals and teams with the power to improve, remain flexible, and seek growth opportunities.
When your company can satisfy these criteria, changes won’t cause chaos. More pressure will stimulate more productivity as every unit within the organization is empowered to meet changing demands.
Benefits of Agile Document Management
The section above describes overall business agility. To see how companies rely upon information management to support agility, it helps to think about how document management works. A basic document management system allows various parties to process, find, store, and track their information in a controlled way. This description could define anything from paper files to a fully featured and AI-enhanced, modern document management system.
Consider some benefits of an agile document management through the lens of specific features.
Manage Information Independently of Device
A few years ago, an organized document management system required central storage and access. Information may have been excluded because of storage medium, format, or device accessibility. These days, stakeholders demand the ability to access information from their mobile devices as well as they can from their desktop computer. In addition, you may have relevant documents stored as spreadsheets on a server, saved in the database of an information management application, and so on. You don’t want to exclude anything just because it’s not stored in a centralized location.
You need device- and platform-agnostic access to that data. Your employees and customers can access information the way they need or want to and not the way that is imposed upon them by the document management system.
Enable Efficient Workflows
Agile document management systems should encourage and even initiate efficient workflows. Modern systems could include the ability to define and execute workflow automation. For instance, an insurance company adjuster might approve a claim. That approval could trigger a payment. Similarly, a customer can make an order, and that order can automatically trigger shipment documents and notifications.
These kinds of efficient and automated workflows can improve productivity and minimize errors. They give people more time to develop ideas because the system handles otherwise manual tasks.
Flexible Access Control
Few companies can ignore the benefits of strong governance policies and automatic enforcement. A modern document management system should give companies the ability to create access rules that they can base upon roles, groups, or individuals. This ability minimizes unauthorized access and errors. In addition, your system can track the chain of custody for all information to allow you to track down and remediate problems quickly.
Strong Search Features
Today’s top document management systems even use smart software to provide relevant results for keyword searches. Beyond that, an agile document management system will have the ability to search across all of your systems and not just one central repository.
At the same time, agile companies will invest some time to make sure they help the software work optimally by tagging documents with the right keywords and phrases within the metadata. Companies should involve various stakeholders to develop a keyword strategy, and then they can let the platform — and artificial intelligence — apply these rules to automatically suggest metadata tags. You won’t have to depend upon luck or wasted time to find the documents you seek.
Hey. Over here. We can help.
A modern document management system will give your company a robust tool to use for current work processes. In addition, it will come with the flexibility to allow for future growth and changes. Today’s companies run on information, and when you enjoy agile information management, you will have made a big step towards having a more agile company. Contact us today to learn how we can introduce more agility to your business.